mausam gul kaa shaayad aayaa daa;G junuu;N ke siyaah hu))e
dil khi;Nchtaa hai jaanib-e .sa;hraa jii nahii;N lagtaa ghar me;N ab

1) the season of the rose has perhaps come; the wounds/scars of madness have faded/'become black'
2) the heart is drawn in the direction of the desert; the inner-self is not content at home now



daa;G : 'A mark burnt in, a brand, cautery; mark, spot, speck; stain; stigma; blemish; iron-mould; freckle; pock; scar, cicatrix; wound, sore; grief, sorrow; misfortune, calamity; loss, injury, damage'. (Platts p.501)

S. R. Faruqi:

A famous verse of Momin's is based on a theme similar to this one:

phir bahaar aa))ii vuhii dasht-navardii hogii
phir vuhii paa))o;N vuhii ;xaar-e mu;Giilaa;N ho;Nge

[again spring has come; there will be that same desert-wandering
again there will be those same feet, those same acacia-thorns]

If Momin's verse is placed next to Mir's verse, the difference between a great poet and a good poet will be apparent. In Momin's verse there's not the slightest trace of implication. In the style there's certainly a kind of double-meaningfulness-- that is, if you look at it in one way then it's a verse of anxiety and distractedness: 'Uh-oh, spring has come, once again the season of desert-wandering and madness has come'. If you read it in a different way, then it's a verse of delight and eagerness: 'Bravo, the season of madness has come again!'. In Momin's verse there's also a subtle hint that this verse is not about the speaker, but rather about the general run of lovers; or again, about all lovers, among whom the speaker is one.

But in Mir's verse, a world of image, ambiguity, and implication has been populated. First of all there's the implication that the speaker has no direct information about the outside world. Based on his own conditions and experiences, he guesses about the changing of the times and the alternation of the seasons. That is, apparently he is cut off from external reality, but inwardly he is at one with it. This merging is at such a level that according to the season, there are appropriate effects on his body and limbs. When spring came, then the wounds of madness turned black. That is, when blackness came into the wounds of madness, then the speaker realized that perhaps now spring had come.

Then there's this: that the speaker is not in a prison cell, but rather is in his own house. In this there's the implication that he seems apparently to have recovered his health. But he has no direct information about the coming of spring, but rather guesses, because the wounds of madness have become black and his heart is drawn toward the desert, that spring has come; and then too, the wounds of madness still remain. Thus the second implication is that he is not yet entirely healthy. In one sense he's under house arrest-- that is, his vision is confined to the inside of the house itself.

Then, he's made no mention of the madness's coming back again; rather, he's mentioned the heart's disaffection with being inside the house, and its being drawn toward the desert. This too is an implication.

(In describing 'implication', I've already said that it's something mentioned in such a way that conjecture would be drawn to some other thing, or proof would be provided for the existence of some other thing. For example, it might be said that 'In so-and-so's house, the lights remain lit far into the night'. This creates the implication that in that house the residents go to sleep late.)

In the 'wounds of madness' there's the implication that in the state of madness he had worn chains, and their marks remain; or that he had wounded his head and body. Or that boys had thrown stones, and these caused the wounds. Or again, that he made the wounds on his own body. 'The wounds of madness became black' is an extremely beautiful image, and an idiom as well. Because when a wound/scar fades, then they call this daa;G siyaahii figandah .

The occasion on which the words of this verse were said, is also extremely interesting. That is, that mood in which madness has not prevailed, but signs of its coming can be seen, and the speaker also feels it. According to the [Islamic medical] art of :tibb , in some forms of madness just this occurs. Virginia Woolf committed suicide under the burden of this feeling.

The image of the wounds of madness becoming black, Mir has used in the sixth divan as well, but not with such excellence [{1856,2}]:

kuchh ;Dar nahii;N jo daa;G junuu;N ho ga))e siyaah
;Dar dil ke i.z:tiraab kaa hai is bahaar me;N

[there's nothing to fear in the wounds of madness becoming black,
the fear is of the heart's restlessness, in this spring]

[See also {451,1}; {1200,1}.]



Here the tone is everything, isn't it? And we of course have to choose the tone. Is it an eager anticipation of future pleasures, or a fearful recounting of ominous symptoms? Or is it just a neutral clinical report, or even a resignedly bored observation about repeatedly occurring events?

And does the speaker's observation even make any difference? It's quite possible that, as SRF suggests, he may be under 'house arrest', and may have no chance to act on his restlessness, or even to see the spring more directly.

Or maybe it's not even spring; the speaker is after all making only a guess that 'perhaps' it may be. His symptoms of restlessness may be showing themselves without regard to the season.

It's a brilliant verse because of everything it doesn't tell us. It thus provokes us into trying to parse all its possible implications.

For another verse that (more ambiguously) infers the possible the coming of spring from a madman's behavior, see:


Compare Ghalib's ironic-feeling verse about the coming of spring, with its insha'iyah first line: